Are You Truly Powerless or Have You Just Tied Your Own Hands?


Are You Truly Powerless or Have You Just Tied Your Own Hands?

How many times have you said you’ve been powerless in business? Or that your hands are tied? You’re waiting on invoices to be paid, a project to start, someone else to do their job so that you can get on with yours.

I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling this way, for all of those reasons. Getting crankier and increasingly frustrated at a lack of action keeping me standing still. Other people’s lack of action. Lack of my own. Feeling as though there was nothing I could do.

Then last week, while we were out to lunch at the pub, our son had a seizure. He’s almost two, and although not uncommon in small kids who are sick, it’s the first time it’s ever happened to us.

We’d all been unwell with the flu, and thinking we were finally getting over it, we got out of the house and met up with friends for lunch. He was quiet but ok. He coloured in, ate well and played with the other kids.

Right before we were about to leave he crawled up into my lap and fell asleep, so we sat for another forty-five minutes chatting while he slept in my arms. When he woke, I ran for the bathroom while our friend took him into the playground with the other kids.

What it means to be truly powerless.

When I got back to the table, I knew something was wrong. I felt it before I saw it. I looked up outside into the playground, and our son was on the ground, our friend kneeling beside him. Then my daughter was at my side. “He’s acting weird”, she said, “He’s lying on the ground, and he won’t stop shaking”.

By the time I reached him, he was mid seizure. Our friend, trained in childcare and first aid had done everything right. Someone called an ambulance, and all we could do was wait. Wait for the seizure to finish. Wait for the ambulance to arrive. Sitting on the ground in a pub, I was terrified, and suddenly I knew what it felt like to be truly powerless.

Taking action.

That night I couldn’t sleep. Needing something to occupy my brain, I made a list. I listed all the projects I had that were waiting on something, whether that be on someone else to complete work or a cash injection. And then I made a second list of all the things I could do while I was waiting.

Surprisingly, there was a lot of actionable tasks on my second list. A lot of things I could have been doing while I’d been complaining about how tightly my hands were tied.

So, I wrote a manifesto, and I stuck it to the wall above my desk:

1. Action: Do at least one thing on each project every day to keep you moving forward.

2. Attitude: Stop talking about being powerless. Focus on positive actions only.

3. Communicate: Stay in contact and updated with everyone involved in each project.

All projects that were previously at a standstill are now moving forward again. My motivation has returned, and while I’m still waiting on certain aspects, there’s no frustration.

There have been very few times in my life when I have been truly powerless. Even fewer, business related. And with all the gains I’ve had in the last week, the only thing that’s changed has been my attitude.

If you believe you are powerless, you will be. If you believe your hands are tied, they are. If you believe you control your life and your business, you hold the keys to moving forward, and nothing can stop you.

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